5 Simple Digital Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

We all want our marketing to work for our business, but digital marketing can be a minefield for any small to medium business owner in the UK. You are probably amazing at your trade, be that plumbing, landscaping, building, finance or whatever sector you are in. So the last thing you want is then try to become the best digital marketer because you’re probably going to be taking on too much no matter how good you think are, it’s always best to stick what to what you do best and leave digital marketing and web design to the experts.

We thought we would write a quick blog update on what you can do with minimal effort and fuss to help your business break through the noise of competition and make your business stand out from the rest, engage with your audience and ultimately get your customers picking up the phone.

Here are our top 5 simple digital marketing tips to help you win online:

1 – Reviews – Reviews – Reviews

Google loves reviews and uses them in its ranking algorithms, in fact Google uses their own review system to help bring your website up online for locational SEO terms so its always good to get great reviews from happy customers. However, Google also brings in reviews from other areas such as Facebook, Trustpilot, Yell, Rated People, Trustatrader and other verified citation websites, so just go for the Google reviews, spread them around and you will find that when you start to search your business, Google will also index and bring up your reviews.

2 – Be Sociable

It’s hard to rank a website in Google, theres a lot you need to learn and do to achieve this and the likelihood is that you are not going to learn SEO fast, so being sociable is the best to harness the power of social media to display your work, company news, recent projects to people across the social spectrum. We have clients that make thousands just across Instagram after building a following and using good sales techniques to break through like endorsing celebrities, local groups and getting your friends to share your work to their friends and so on. The best social media sites for business we still find are Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram and Twitter, Google Plus is taking a bit of time, but I would create a Google Plus account anyway as that will link to your website and help rank on Google.

Google loves a sociable business that is transparent so keep being social and Google will index your website and also bring your social profiles in for keywords relevant to your business.

3 – Blogs Baby!

Blogs are a fantastic way of updating your website and keeping you relevant, we add blogs to all our websites as standard as we know you need to keep your website updated constantly. Google uses the power of blogging too to determine your rankings and a good blog with relevant information (like this blog) is providing your audience with knowledge. You can talk about the latest kitchen appliances, plumbing accessories, travel, fashion, anything – no matter what your market or business, a blog is a must.

4 – Youtube & Video Marketing

Oh my word – videos! Today its easy to create videos and post them on to Youtube. Google owns Youtube and understands the power of video marketing. People don’t want to be reading long boring articles, they either want straight to the point information or they want a video explainer video, makes life much easier and Google knows this.

So, if you have video walk arounds or recent projects, news and updates to your business, get them down on a video, upload to Youtube and post socially and embed to your website to drive engagement.

5 – …and finally – Relevance

This might come as a shock or we might be teaching you to suck eggs, but staying relevant is so important to Google and your audience. Google is effectively a very high end directory website, so when users add a query, they want the results to be relevant to their query. This can only be done by ensuring that your content and website imagery and optimisation is relevant to the work you do. If over time your business changes, your website needs to change to adapt to it, this is keeping relevant which is good for SEO and digital marketing.

If you follow these 5 tips, you won’t go far wrong in your digital marketing success, if you have the right web design company supporting your business for the tech side of coding and high end SEO, you will benefit yourself a lot if you are managing your own digital marketing too. After all, its a competitive marketing out there online and with 92% of new business being searched, you need to stand out from the rest.

How To Make Your Website GDPR Compliant

Everyone is getting up in arms about the new GDPR that has been enforced today and we thought we would explain what that means to your website and how it handles data. GDPR will affect the two main channels of data which are the DATA PROCESSOR & the DATA CONTROLLER.

If your business deals with EU residents regardless of Brexit then you will need make sure your website is GDPR Compliant

Depending on what you do with the data will depend on what measures you need to take to handle that data and this can range depending on the nature of your business, but we are going to look at what this means for your website.

We have broken down what you need to know if you run a small business so you can relax at night, because I know you’re all losing sleep over it!

Double Opt In

On every contact form there needs to be an unchecked check box with a note to the effect of “By submitting this form you are allowing [your company] to store data from this form”. You can tweak this to suit your needs, but the form needs to force the user to check the box and they will also need an email to double check.

If you run an online shop, you will also need this display box on the billing page too.

Right To Receive Data

The customer should have the right to request their data at any point. Whether you store information on a third party CRM, host or any local files, if a customer requests their data, you need to provide it. In your privacy policy make sure you have a clause in there to support this and ideally with a link to a request data form.

Display When Site Was Last Modified

This is a bit of a grey are, whenever the site is updated it is best practice to display when the site was last modified, in WordPress there is a plugin with a handy bit of short code called LAST MODIFIED – you can download the plugin here for free

Cookies

Stick a cookie banner on your site with a check box that they understand that the site uses cookies if you use tracking software or any third party insights software. Always best practice to make the user aware of this.

This is it for the website, remember, you also have other software and payment integrations that will need to be compliant so if you are in any doubt, it is always best to seek the help of a professional or even hire a data protection officer to help you out.

 

The Importance of Hosting

It’s such an undervalued asset to any website but people really don’t care about hosting and the importance of hosting in terms of ranking and up time. If you think about hosting, it’s the foundation of any website, it’s the same as building good foundations for a building. If you are going to build a small home, then your foundations need to be strong enough to hold that home up and keep the occupants safe. If you are going to build a skyscraper then your foundations need to be next level and up to the mark to manage the site.

When you build a website, you have to make sure that your foundations are well managed and this is where hosting comes into play. So we need to ask the question:

What is hosting?

Hosting for websites is a service that allows personal or business websites the ability to post a web page on the www (world wide web). A web hosting company is a company that provides the tools needed to host your website on platforms called servers. So in essence, here at Umarketeers we are also a hosting company as we host your website in with our monthly fee which means everything is held in one place.

On the internet there are different browsers, such as Google Chrome, Safari, IE etc and when you type in an website domain name – eg, www.umarketeers.com this domain will connect to a server that hosts your website.

Now you know what hosting is, you can see the value in it straight away. Without good servers and management it can result in downtime which means loss of traffic and if your site is down repeatedly it can harm your SEO (Google rankings). By making sure you have great trusted hosting in place, you are making a great business decision and with most hosting companies offering 99.8% uptime you can always rely on quality hosting companies like Godaddy, Amazon Web Servers, Cloud Servers and many more.

Servers are also important for the speed of your site, if you host your site on a shared hosting server (which means splitting the space up with over websites) then you have to be careful how much you load your site, you’ll need to make sure you website optimisation is on the money so that images and javascript runs quickly, however, if you have optimised your website and your servers are slow, then all that work will be for nothing. The best thing to do here is to speak to your hosting company and ask them about what type of server you are on (linux is popular for WordPress) and ask for a report on the speed, all hosting companies can provide this for you.

So, in essence, if you want your site to run well, make sure you have the foundations firmly in place by choosing the right hosting provider, one that has a proven record of quality uptime and speed.

What Google wants to rank your website in 2017

Everyone wants to know the answers to the magic question, “how do you rank your website in 2017?”. Well as a company that has been working alongside Google for many years and spent many times in Google HQ London we can tell you that even we cannot give you a definitive answer and to be honest there is a reason why Google keeps digital marketing companies on their toes.

In the past before we had Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin Google would rely on the authority of links coming from other sites linking to your sites to rank the site. This made it an easy target for link farms and link wheels and for companies to create link spinning software to rank sites and unfortunately this made Google less relevant and as a result Google had to change tac in order to dominate other search engines in the marketplace. The main reason why Google is the main choice for search engines is because of it’s emphasis on relevance and giving the user what it is looking for with the minimal amount of clicks. So, with the buzzword relevancy in mind, we can take you through some ranking factors for 2017 that we know will definitely help your site rank.

1 – Domain Age

If you own a domain that Google has indexed for many years, Google will place authority on your domain which means Google will know if you are a legitimate honest business. A newly bought domain name that has recently been indexed will struggle against a domain name that has been indexed with Google for over a year. So, if your domain name and site has been indexed for many years, then with the right onsite optimisation you can probably outrank your competition.

2 – Relevant Content

This is so important, Google doesn’t want thin content stuffed with keywords, it wants content that thoroughly explains the product or service and this would usually be 2000+ words for any article. Keep your content focused on the keyword(s) that the article is pertaining to. One thing you do not want to do is keyword stuffing, this is something Google does not like and will probably end up hurting your rankings.

Keep the content unique too, do not duplicate content on your website in your meta descriptions and on page and especially do not copy another website’s content. Google can detect this and will penalise your site. Make sure your content is unique, well thought out and your site will do well in the SERPS.

3 – Mobile Website

We have talked about mobile websites in another article, but Google has now completed a recent first mobile index so we now know Google is placing more emphasis on mobile than desktop as we come in to the Summer of 2017 where the percentage of mobile users exceed 65% and rising. Make sure your images, font and site are either responsive of have a mobile website to make navigation easy on mobile and tablet.

4 – Social Media

Be transparent and integrate your social media to your website, this is a massive ranking factor in 2017 and Google knows that a business that is social is a business with nothing to hide. Talk to your customers and Google can view the social signals in it’s algorithm and will place authority on your domain if you are being social. Google plus, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Houzz (for construction) are all very very important now, gone are the days where you can just Facebook yourself, you need an array of social media pages to draw relevant traffic back to your site. Get social!

5 – Authority links to your site

Still a big ranking factor, Google wants to see links coming from high authority websites to your site. Also, the quality of the link is very important too, Google would prefer one link from a site like Forbes or the BBC than hundreds of links from a site with no page authority. This is where smart comes in, networking with partner businesses to create a partner page with links from their partner page to yours shows Google that you are a trusted business with connections online. If for example, you are a kitchen company and have worked with a well known national supplier like Howdens, then you could ask them for a link from their site your site which would show Google you have authority in your business as well as online. Don’t be afraid to reach out to relevant and partner businesses.

6 – Lastly – Reviews, Reviews, Reviews!

When someone comes to your business on the back of a mouth to mouth referral it’s because that customer has had an amazing service with your business and is happy to tell other people about it. This is no difference in the online community, so make sure that every job and customer is also a marketing opportunity. Get your customers to review you on Google, Google uses these reviews in the ranking process and can work for locational SEO as well as national SEO. Also, sites like Yell, Facebook, Houzz and Trustpilot and many others will be indexed by Google. Try it for yourself, click on this link to see the live reviews and you can see Google reviews on the right and our Facebook reviews in the main search results.

Ok, to summarise with the points above you will succeed online if you are a small business, there are other ranking factors, but you don’t need to know them all and after all we are here to manage your digital marketing for you if you are struggling to manage and with our monthly plans and free websites, you have no risk whatsoever!